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Snippet Contents:

He used to ask me whether we were only going to do this up to the age of age six because if that was the case, he was not with us. He told me that he needed me to tell him that it was not just a measure up to age six and that we should go up to 12 and onwards. I used to tell him that was our intention. Here we are being true to the commitment we gave, and the commitment I gave to Deputy Ó Caoláin from Sinn Féin, that we were serious about extending free GP care from the under-sixes to the under-12s. I expect it to be extended further to the entire community so that we can transform our health services by moving resources into primary care and where people have universal access to GP services irrespective of their income. That is what we have done and we are sticking to our word and delivering that in this budget as well.
It is also a budget that recognises and values our older citizens with increases in the weekly pension, the fuel allowance and the Christmas bonus. Above all, this is a budget for continued employment growth, building on the efforts and policies that have seen over 130,000 jobs created since 2012. I have just come back from an announcement by Sage that it is creating 300 new jobs at its headquarters in Sandyford. These are quality jobs in Dublin, and there are examples elsewhere in the country. This is further evidence that Ireland's sustainable, jobs-led recovery is bringing real benefits to our communities across Dublin and the whole country.
The budget will deliver progress on my priorities as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. It will enhance and expand existing programmes to help our citizens, communities and small businesses to benefit from the many opportunities presented by our transition to a digital society and economy. One of the things I most regret about the recession and the economic crisis, and there are many things to regret, is the gap in investment that grew up. We redressed that in the capital plan and are now looking to invest seriously in transport and education, including building new schools. Most important for me is investing in the digital economy and having the national broadband plan to ensure that every home and business in Ireland is served by high-speed broadband. There is precious little about broadband in the Sinn Féin so-called pre-budget statement. I can see no apparent allocation. There is nothing there about infrastructure except the word "infrastructure". There is nothing about broadband.